Robert Earl Keen - What I Really Mean

Music Reviews Robert Earl Keen
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Robert Earl Keen - What I Really Mean

Texas storyteller Keen once again at the middle of his game

With a catalog stretching back over two decades, Texas tunesmith Robert Earl Keen has had his share of near-brilliant ?ashes alternating between the two bedrock poles of Lone Star songwriting: serious and screw-it. His latest leans toward the former, and while musically it’s one of his sharpest (credit guitarist/producer Rich Brotherton), the material isn’t quite realized enough to hold a listener’s interest like such early ’90s high watermarks as A Bigger Piece of the Sky or Gringo Honeymoon. At times engaging (the standout leadoff track, “For Love”), at times frustrating (a wasted cameo by Ray Price on the trifling “A Border Tragedy”), it’s ultimately a mixed bag from a talented but frequently uneven artist.

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